All files in My Documents have vanished!

February 26, 2010 at 02:17:45
Specs: Windows XP
Hi all,
my laptop (an ASUS F5 with Windows XP running latest service pack etc and AVG 9.0 anti virus) has been running near perfectly since 2008 when I bought it. However, sometime during the Christmas holidays all the loose files not in folders in My Documents have vanished. Wierdly, The ones already in folders, e.g. My Pictures are still there. Nothing has happened to my computer during that time, except I used my flash drive to get a file from my brother's computer, and everytime I used the flash drive after that my computer would come up with an AVG virus message. I think I could've put a file into My Documents from the flash drive, I can't remember. Anyway, the wierd thing is that all the files are in the 'recent' folder, but when I try to open them it says they can't be found. Arrrghhhh! Can someone please tell me what's going on, or what I can do?

By the way, I have put new files into my documents after the holidays, and nothing has happened to them.


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February 26, 2010 at 05:42:09
The 'Recent' folder contains only 'shortcuts' to files, not the
actual files themselves. The shortcuts remain even when the
actual files have gone.

I'm always stressing to people to keep backup copies of every
file they create or download, in case the originals get zapped.

All I can suggest is you do a 'search' if you can remember the
filenames or part of the filenames. Or you can use a wildcard
if you know what the filename extension is.

For example, if it's a Word document, open the search box
and type *.doc, choosing the whole of your 'C' drive as the place to search.

Also have a look in the Recycle Bin, though it's unlikely they'll be in there if they weren't deleted manually.

It's possible something has deleted them but they are still on the hard disk, or at least some of them might be if you haven't overwritten them with other files or program installs. If they exist you need to 'undelete' them with recovery software. Try this:

Remember, for the best chance of recovery don't install anything else or perform a defrag which could overwrite what remains of the lost files. Some of them may be only partially recoverable if they've already been partly overwritten by other data.

It really depends on how long it is since they went missing and how much you've used your PC since then. I hope you get them back, but do please keep regular backups on an external drive or optical discs in future!

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February 26, 2010 at 16:28:39
Hey pip22,
Thanks for the reply. I have downloaded recuva and will give it a go. I know about 5 or so of the document's names, they are very important e.g. one of them is a novel i have been working on since 2008... and yes i should keep backups on my external drive!

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